The Mets’ top two prospects won’t be joining the big leagues any time soon.
Despite his team’s tailspin and an overwhelming number of injuries, general manager Sandy Alderson said Friday he does not anticipate calling up first baseman Dominic Smith or shortstop Amed Rosario, who are both enjoying dominant offensive seasons for Triple-A Las Vegas in 2017.
“There are no current plans to promote either one of them – unless one them can pitch, in which case we might reconsider,” Alderson said dryly of Rosario and Smith.
Rosario is hitting .366 with a .953 OPS, four homers, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases in 40 games so far this year. Smith, meanwhile, has followed his breakout 2016 by hitting .325 with five homers and 25 RBI in 41 games this season.
Alderson said the Mets are “very happy” with the duo’s progress. But at this stage, he doesn’t believe his club is in need of a boost at the plate.
The Mets entered their Friday night series opener against the visiting Angels on a seven-game losing streak, but their 195 total runs ranked eighth in the National League.
The problem, according to Alderson, is the pitching – particularly the bullpen. Mets relievers compiled a 5.13 ERA in 144 innings heading into Friday night, the fifth-worst mark in the majors.
Alderson believes the poor relief pitching is partly a function of short outings from his starters, who hurled a total of 212.1 innings through Thursday. Only five teams in the majors have pitched fewer.
Thus, Alderson is focused on improving his pitching, leaving Rosario and Smith to continue develop out west for now.
“Our issue is not so much on the player side of the ball as it is on the pitching side right now, and that’s where we really have to focus and stabilize,” Alderson said. “So that’s not to say that one or the other of those players wouldn’t be helpful in some way. But we don’t see that as a panacea, and we don’t see it necessarily as the right time in the overall sense of where we are and who we have currently and what we’re trying to do.”
CHANGE IS UPON US
In response to the devastating slew of injuries the Mets have dealt with this season, Alderson said Friday the organization has made “practical changes” to its injury protocol.
Primarily, Alderson said he now meets daily with the Mets training staff.
“Which I’ve not always done in the past,” Alderson said, “but do it now to provide context for the decisions that we have to make from day to day based on information that not only rises that day but may have sort of been gestating over a period of days.”
Alderson would not disclose if further changes would be implemented. “Time will tell,” he said. “Some of the other things that we might consider might require a little more in the way of sort of investigation and research, and that sometimes requires a little time.”
HARVEY’S POSITIVE SIGN
Alderson said Friday he believed Matt Harvey’s latest outing – three earned runs over 5.1 innings in a loss at the Diamondbacks Tuesday – was a “step in the right direction.” But the general manager still needs to see Harvey improve from a psychological standpoint.
Harvey was suspended for three days earlier this month after violating team rules. He was out past curfew on May 5 and didn’t show up to the Mets’ home game the following day.
“(He’s) come through a lot of physical hurdles, and I think has gotten back physically to a good place,” Alderson said. “I think we have to get him mentally and emotionally back to that same type of place. … We obviously are going to need Matt Harvey to be not what he used to be but effective and consistent for us to be as resilient as I said I expected us to be.”
Righthander Seth Lugo (elbow), lefthander Steven Matz (elbow) and catcher Travis d’Arnaud (bruised right wrist) all played in their first rehab games Thursday.
Lugo and Matz have not played for the Mets this season. D’Arnuad has been out since May 2.
Matz started for Single-A Port St. Lucie and allowed one run on two hits over three innings. Lugo then replaced Matz and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings. D’Arnuad started at catcher of St. Lucie and went 2-for-4 with two singles. All three players emerged from the rehab game with no setbacks, according to Alderson.
Alderson said Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) “is making good progress.” Cespedes hasn’t played since April 27.
Alderson wouldn’t speculate as to when any of the four would return to the Mets.
“We want to make sure that we’re not cutting any corners, and that they’re ready to go when they come back,” Alderson said. “And so we’re monitoring that progress, but I’m not going to make any predictions as to when they’ll be back.”